Addleshaw Booth & Co national head of banking Mark Chidley is replacing Derek Arnott as director of group legal services at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), The Lawyer can reveal

The news means that Addleshaws, which acts for RBS, can breathe more easily after news of Arnott’s departure sparked concern among RBS’s main advisers, which feared a review of their status under a new head of legal.

A senior Scottish lawyer commented: “RBS doesn’t run a formal contracting system for legal advisers. It’s more based on relationships. The bank will review the range of advisers when Arnott’s successor, who is likely to use his own contacts, takes up the post.”

Chidley will leave Addleshaws on 30 April 2002. He has been a partner at the firm for 18 years. He set up the firm’s banking practice in London in 1998 and has been national head of banking and finance since 1999.

Chidley joins RBS as it is starting to formalise its relationships with legal advisers as part of bedding down its merger with NatWest.

In January 2001, RBS finalised its panel for high-value UK corporate banking, structured finance and financial markets work. But the panel did not cover Scottish advisers, insolvency and restructuring or lower value work, where there will remain more discretion. For example, McGrigor Donald, soon to merge with KLegal, names RBS as a main client and media firm Davenport Lyons does film financing for it.

Those firms on the RBS corporate banking panel are: Addleshaws, Allen & Overy, Ashurst Morris Crisp, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Clifford Chance, CMS Cameron McKenna, Denton Wilde Sapte, DLA, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hammond Suddards Edge, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Masons, Norton Rose, Pinsent Curtis Biddle, Richards Butler, SJ Berwin, Slaughter and May, Stephenson Harwood, Theodore Goddard, Travers Smith Braithwaite, Watson Farley & Williams, and Wragge & Co.